Facing Reality Heals Lives

 

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Do you give back as much as you take from the horse?

It is often overlooked how much humanity takes from the horse. Many of us get snagged in the illusion of a fantasy that’s driven by our ego’s identity. This keeps many blind to the horses reality.  Humans lose track that they are not their truck, Levi’s, house or horse nor their BMW, breeches or live-in trailers.

One example is in the understanding. the equine as a nation, has lost their natural habitat. They no longer have the ability to move free of human population. It often does not occure to the human that the horse is not designed to be born in confinement. Fenced in pastures, padocks and box stalls are human creations. The horse does not have a choice, as their population has grown and their freedoms have been taken away. Their truest nature is to not be in human hands. They did not volunteer to be born into our limitations. They do not understand when they are first approached by what nature constitutes for them as a predator.

I remember Ray Hunt in his clinics contributing something along the line, and I am paraphrasing,  that if he was born into this world as a horse, he would be the wildest bronc anyone had ever seen. For me I felt his point was,  that the human needs to wake up to the reality of what horses are being put through. For me, I heard Rays empathy as a painful understanding for the horses plight in human hands. I also heard his admiration for the horses need for self preservation.

I have gone through years of pondering what is my role in the horses journey with humans. I have suffered looking directly at I too am a human, asking for the horse to live in my world, void of having choice.

In my feelings of empathy, I find myself asking,  “what do I give in return for asking the equine to live in my world” My top answer has taken years to develope. It is that I am to get really honest about THIER needs. Not MY needs. This is where one really faces themselves and asks the “why do I do this” ?  This very question has led me to seeking an in depth education of all aspects of the horse.  Environment, physical health and emotional needs being top contenders.

Taking responsibility for educating ourselves in all aspects of the horses reality, by facing how we impact thier lives, is how we become awake and responsible.

For me, I will never be able to do enough. In facing this raw truth, I have dedicated my life to giving back everything I can for what humanity has asked of these noble innocent beings.

Facing reality heals lives 

Acknowledging the innocence in all living beings, brings awareness, to what is sacred and beautiful in our own soul 

By Donnette Hicks 

 

A Meaningful Pause

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When working with horses its wise to make space for a meaningful pause.  We do not need to be in chaos to take a breath, often taking a moment to ourselves results in a higher level of understanding and freedom for our equine partners.

When we don’t pause with the horse we are perpetually hurrying from one idea to another, from one action to another and sacrifice the richness of feeling for the horses needs. This often results in the horse bracing against us.

Pause and breath 

Create meaningful space with yor equine partner 

By Donnette Hicks 

Creating A Base Of Support

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Setbacks happen on the path to achievement. Think about it—when a new born foal first begins to rise after birth , they often fall with their first attempts. They find their way as their legs begin to create the base of support they need to rise.

Just as new born foal, our own falls teach us to build a better foundation to stand upon.  Sometimes those “falls” can be quite helpful—they can show us what we may need to change about our plans. The only way they spell failure is if we decide to abandon ourselves because these slips have happened.

Embrace the falls in life 

Build a base of support 

By Donnette Hicks 

 

 

 

Gratitudes Reflection

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Imagine how it must feel to the horse when gratitude becomes our natural reaction to life’s challenges. Gratitudes energy requires no engagement in any physical behavior. It takes little effort to generate feelings of appreciation. In our awake joyful expression the horse will often show a higher level of responsiveness. I often will take a moment with the horse to feel grateful for its contribution in my life.

Take a moment to find gratitude

Enjoy the outcome of inner freedom and joy

By Donnette Hicks

Letting Go Of The Need To Compare

We have only one obligation in life and that’s to be completely who we are. It’s a human condition to spend waisted time comparing ourselves to others. This one act alone is the most deadly thing we can do to ourselves. Unconsciously this is encouraged as necessary in the pursuit of excellence.  We humans constantly aspire to long for what others have accomplished. Yet when we compare ourselves to others, we lose sight of ourselves and are not able to understand the true reality of those we look up to. We only experience the emotional upheaval of comparing.

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The wind was howling as everyone was scurrying to prepare for the next days show. Parker Colorado was known for having extreme weather. I started to hear the pelting sound of raindrops on the roof of the stables. The young women who were organizing themselves were quiet. I felt tension in the environment.

Cleaning tack is an opportunity for everyone to create a Zen like state for themselves. A soothing feeling came over me as I dropped my hand in the warm water squeezing out the excess soap in the sponge. I began to run it over the dirt and sweat on the bridal leather I was holding.  One of my young women who I coach, started to show she was feeling upset. Tears began to stream down her cheeks. I asked her to share what was troubling her. She answered,  “there are so many horses here that are better movers and so much nicer than mine” I gathered her in my arms and gave her a big warm soothing hug.

I began to share a common message which arises in these circumstances. It’s important to me to help my students find their self-confidence. I began to share the dangers of comparing oneself to others. I continued informing her that there is no other human being on the property who is on her journey nor is there another horse with the unique precious qualities as hers. I informed her that her only obligation was to her horse and to herself. By being present for each other she would obtain the ability to learn self growth, love and inner appreciation. I concluded that with her horse as her guide, this is her heroes journey within.

History is riddled with humbling stories of misfortunes giving all humans the opportunity to return to exactly who we are.  When we embrace each other and forgive ourselves, we become authentic and present to the magnificence of the fabric of our lives.

When we learn to release and let go of the need to compare. We begin the journey of recognizing and being our true selves. 

By Donnette Hicks 

Self Knowledge

For me my sensitivity to the horse, hinges on what I am willing to receive as the horse reflects who I am. I have found I never give some parts of who I am enough credit, but it is just as certain the horse has reflected to me there are parts I have given too much credit. Developing self knowledge gives me a larger access of how I effect the horse with my decisions.

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My horse and I were creating a serpentine through the oncoming traffic of  riders heading straight at me from the opposite direction.  I was used to this exercise as respected Clinition Ray Hunt had us do this every year at his clinics. I was sure this time I was going to be successful. In the past I would get really flusterd by the other horses not staying in rhythm along with people not looking where they were going. I calculated this would happen this time  as well.  I looked way ahead to figure out how I was going to navigate the weaving objects.

I was not surprised that once again I was getting frustrated as I was starting to encounter the same issues as previous years. In this moment it came to me that the horse I was ridding was not feeling very relaxed nor very light. Knowing myself and feeling my own brace, I was sure I was creating the same in my horse.

I pulled out of the chaotic traffic that felt like heavy large worms trying to swallow us up. I crossed the arena to a space that was less populated and continued the exercise. My horse instantly felt lighter and more relaxed as we were having success in the task being asked of us. I reached down and rubbed her neck and began to enjoy the success we were having. She was brighter in her life and lighter in her feel.

I knew I had made the adjustment I needed to set her up for feeling the ease of movement in this larger space. I recognized the change in myself of higher conference by initiating this new option for both me and my horse.

Learning to recognize the realities of how we function and make decisions directly impact the equine. Each situation is an opertunity to develope and understand the preciousness, of our own self-knowledge.

Allow sensitivity with the horse to open and  develope your Self-knowedge 

By Donnette Hicks

Ask A New Question

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When asking the horse the same question, and they respond with undesired results, ask a different question.

I have experienced myself applying the same action with a horse repeatedly expecting a different outcome.  “Asking the horse the same question again and again,  and expecting a different result, is the true meaning of insanity”

When I taken in the expression and response of the horses and apply a teaching Tom Dorrance contributed to me, which is “observe compare and remember”  I soon find myself knowing when to ask new questions.

Do you find yourself responding to the same situations in the same way over and over, never satisfied with the results? Are you doing the same thing over and over, waiting for something outside of yourself to change instead of doing something differently for yourself and your horse?

Create clear inner questions 

Embrace new paths of wisdom

 

By Donnette Hicks

Past or present?

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Do you live in the past or the present with your horse? Does your horse live in the past or the present with you? This is a topic I think about quite often. When I am working with young horses that have not had much handling, it is like working with a blank canvas. This is one reason why I love working with mustangs.

Mustangs will usually have limited or no handling experience with humans. They may recognize humans as something unfamiliar but should not have any “past” handling knowledge. Working with domesticated horses is a different story. Some from birth are handled daily which starts their relationship with humans.

When colts or grown horses come to me in training I often hear statements like ” be careful he doesn’t like to be bridled, or he doesn’t like to be brushed a certain way” and so on. Are these owners living in the past? I believe they are. As a trainer, I want to approach and treat all my horses in the same way. I may need to make adjustments for their individual personalities but for the most part it’s the same. If I handle them with the knowledge that they don’t like something in particular then I am living in the past. My experience is that horses live in the “now”. Certain situations can bring back past emotion ( I use the word emotion carefully) but it is my job as trainer, to not dwell on the past, but help them be completely confident in the now.

I challenge any of you as you work with your horse in the next few days, to try and not live in the past , but treat each day as a “new ” day and live in the now.

Freely Giving

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The bed and breakfast was full of excitement as everyone gathered for dinner. I enjoyed sitting with my friend Milly Hunt Porter outside on the upper deck.  The sun raised a hand in creating spectacular views. The distant river looked inviting in its filter of soft colors. The air was still and lent a calm feeling to the environment.

I noticed her small stature as she contributed her pearls of wisdom. I pondered if she knew how inspired I became as her words resonated in my heart. Time became non existent as descriptions of her experiences came alive in my listening.  When the evening came to an end I found myself wanting to acknowledge her for the time she spent with me. Yet there was underlying message that kept formulating in every story she recalled and shared.

I gleaned a precious unique pearl in hearing Milly ask a question. ” whatever happened to freely sharing a peanut butter and jelly sandwich ” I sat back in my chair and threw my hands in air and replied ” I don’t have the foggiest clue ” I began to chuckle.  Milly continued with her feelings about the blessings of giving ourselvs freely, with no expectation of receiving anything in return.

On the return trip from Bruneau Idaho I found myself in deep thought. My husband Jim broke the silence and asked me what I was pondering. I looked over at him and shared, ” it just occurred to me, that horses are always freely giving of themselves. They are unrestrained by human expectations. They do not hesitate to share their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches”  We both smiled as the sounds of the road took back over our drive back home.

Receive the blessings of freely giving of yourself 

By Donnette Hicks

In gratitude of Milly Hunt Porter

Being Kind With Ourselves

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I felt his breath begin to labor as the climb up the mountain became challenging. I asked myself if the heat along with the steep grade was to stressful for this large bodied black horse. A flat area came into focus ahead of me. I surveyed his needs to make a decision, rest or continue. We progressed forward towards a flat area.  I began to measure and weigh my options.  My emotions started to shift. I began to feel upset that I chose to have this large Friesian stallion out in the heat.  My self talk continued into deeper critical thinking.

I chose to stop. I waited for the horse to arrange his body how he needed. His sides were heaving from labored breathing.  He suddenly lifted his head alert in attention. His breath instantly quieted as his eyes began to survey the open valley floor. I joined him in the magnificence of the sight, searching for what he was sensing. He then drew in a puff of air as if he was searching for a certain smell.  The aroma of sage mixed with grass filled my nose as I fallowed his lead.  I then felt a breeze tussle my hair bringing pleasure and relief from the rising temperature. I reached down and pulled his massive heaping mane off to the side exposing his hot neck to the same enjoyable experience.

Turning around, we dropped down off the mountain. I enjoyed the sounds of his hooves as he picked his way through a maze of thick sage. I found I was being kind to myself as I surveyed my feelings of relief. The joy of receiving the nature of my horse left me in a state of pure gratitude.

Release critical thinking. Receive natures gifts by being kind to yourself

By Donnette Hicks 

Inspired by Kelcy Sweat

 

 

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